- The Washington Times - Friday, January 2, 2004

CALIFORNIA

Owner of killer dogs to be released

SAN FRANCISCO A California woman convicted in the dog-mauling death of her neighbor is headed for freedom this week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday.

Marjorie Knoller, 48, was to be released from Californias Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla yesterday or today and serve three years parole somewhere in Southern California, said Russ Heimerich, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections.

She and her husband made nationwide headlines when their two Presa Canario dogs, both more than 100 pounds, attacked and killed neighbor Diane Whipple, 33, three years ago.

Knoller had been sentenced to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. She received credit for good behavior and for the time she served in jail before her conviction.

TEXAS

Small airplane crashes into houses

DALLAS A small airplane crashed into a residential area yesterday shortly after takeoff, setting two houses afire and killing both persons aboard the plane, officials said. The disabled resident of one house was rescued by his caregiver.

“I kept screaming at to get out,” said Matt Sousa, who lives a block away. “Then she came out and she had the little man in her arms.”

The cause of the crash hadnt been determined, but the weather was rainy and foggy.

The single-engine Bellanca, a popular private plane made largely of fabric and wood, crashed about 10:10 a.m., said Roland Herwig, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. It had just taken off from Addison Airport and was bound for Amarillo.

ALABAMA

Research centers will get $17 million

MONTGOMERY A state bond commission committed $17 million to two medical research centers that are expected to create more than 1,000 high-paying jobs.

The centers will be at the University of South Alabama in Mobile and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Gov. Bob Riley called such economic development projects “the future of Alabama.”

COLORADO

Scientists examine Earths rotation

BOULDER The Earth is spinning on schedule for the fifth straight year and that has scientists scratching their heads.

Experts generally agree that the rate at which the Earth spins on its axis has slowed ever so slightly for millennia. To make the worlds official time agree with where the Earth actually is, scientists in 1972 started adding a “leap second.”

For many years, scientists repeated the procedure. But in 1999, they discovered that the Earth was no longer lagging.

At the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, spokesman Fred McGehan said scientists arent sure why the Earth suddenly is on schedule.

@Brief.kicker.rule:FLORIDA

@Brief.head:Radium now normal in schools water

@Text.rag:PENSACOLA Radium levels in the water at two Pensacola elementary schools have returned within normal limits, officials say. However, nearly 1,000 students at the schools will continue drinking bottled water or water from coolers until health officials confirm the results, Escambia School Superintendent Jim Paul says.

Test results in November showed levels of radium at roughly twice the federal safety level.

GEORGIA

Ex-mayors son held on drug charges

ATLANTA The son of late Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson was arrested New Years Eve on charges that he sold marijuana to an undercover officer.

Maynard Holbrook Jackson III, 32, was taken into custody at a house in the citys Inman Park neighborhood, police Sgt. John Quigley said.

He was accused of selling undercover police $150 worth of marijuana, or about 25 grams, which is a little less than an ounce. He was taken to the Fulton County Jail to await a bail hearing.

ILLINOIS

Hospitalized pastor performs wedding

LINCOLN The Rev. Don Hoover performed a wedding ceremony from his bed in a hospital emergency room last weekend after a severe leg cramp derailed his appointment at the altar.

“As I laid in the emergency room, we tried to decide who else we could get to do the ceremony. Then the bride and groom arrived and said ‘We dont want anyone else to do it,” said Mr. Hoover, pastor of Lincoln Bible Church.

Mr. Hoover isnt surprised that the couple were so adamant. The bride, Janel Hoover, is his cousins daughter. Ed Tibbits, the groom, has been a family friend for about seven years.

“We pulled the curtains aside and made room for 10 or 12 people. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing,” Mr. Hoover said.

Two hours later, the couple repeated their vows for family and friends at the church in a ceremony officiated by a church member.

Mr. Hoover returned home Monday with a clean bill of health. The newlyweds left the same day for a honeymoon in New Orleans.

MICHIGAN

No charges likely in June riots

BENTON HARBOR Prosecutors are not likely to bring charges in the riots that occurred in June because those who took part could not be identified, authorities said.

“At this point, I do not anticipate any more arrests,” Berrien County Prosecutor James A. Cherry told the Detroit News. “As cases like this get older, we tend to be less interested.”

The riots began June 17 after a black motorcyclist fleeing suburban police crashed into a house and died. In the two nights of violence that followed, rioters burned 21 houses, and hurled rocks, bricks and bottles at bystanders, injuring several.

Mr. Cherry said investigators had hoped to use news footage to identify the rioters, but the quality wasnt good enough. Witnesses in the neighborhood have not cooperated.

NORTH CAROLINA

Weather ruined fishermens year

MOREHEAD CITY Too much rain combined with imports to make 2003 a tough year to depend on seafood for a livelihood, state fishermen say.

In addition to the heavy rainfall, Hurricane Isabel dumped more freshwater into the saltwater system. “Its been the worst year Ive had in 21 years,” said Alicia Lyons, owner of Red Barn Fish Co. in Hubert.

MINNESOTA

Corporations may sponsor rest stops

ST. PAUL Forget sports stadiums and firetrucks. In Minnesota, corporations soon may be able to attach their names to something more mundane rest stops.

“It is a new area,” said Carol Reamer of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. “To our knowledge, its not been done anywhere in the nation.”

The suggestion comes after a particularly tough year of budget cutting for many state agencies. In the past session, lawmakers considered shuttering dozens of the states rest areas to save $4 million as part of a $4.23 billion budget fix.

In October, officials started two phases of market research on the corporate-sponsorship issue one gauging the publics sentiment, the other assessing business support. Results should be ready sometime next month, Miss Reamer said.

NEW YORK

State requires ‘fire-safe cigarettes

ALBANY To prevent house fires by careless smokers, New York state has adopted the nations first rules mandating that cigarettes sold in the state be rolled with lower-ignition paper.

The so-called “fire-safe” cigarettes will extinguish by themselves if not puffed on, and advocates say they will prevent many of the fires being triggered by smokers who leave cigarettes unattended.

The regulations, introduced in December 2002 and later modified, were adopted Wednesday by the Department of State. They were developed by the departments Office of Fire Prevention and Control under a mandate from Gov. George E. Pataki and the state Legislature.

PENNSYLVANIA

Thief steals trash collectors tips

EASTON Garbage and recycling crews said they found only pieces of tape and empty envelopes instead of the usual holiday tips on trash cans and recycling bins along a route before Christmas.

Many customers leave tips for the collectors during the Christmas season, but on the morning of Dec. 20, Waste Management employees found empty envelopes where Christmas cards had been, or tape on garbage cans where envelopes had been.

A thief or thieves apparently hit about 500 homes in Forks Township, said William Buskirk Jr., residential route manager of Waste Management of Pen Argyl, who estimated that about $500 might have been taken.

“Its just a real downer for the guys,” he said Tuesday.

UTAH

Media seek access to couples hearings

SALT LAKE CITY News organizations are opposing a judges decision to close the mental-competency hearings of the couple accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart.

Third District Judge Judith Atherton will hold a hearing Monday on petitions asking her to reverse her decision to have the hearings, set for later this month, closed.

Brian David Mitchell, 50, and Wanda Barzee, 57, are charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated burglary in the June 5, 2002, abduction of the girl, who was 14 at the time. She was found in their company nine months later.

Mr. Mitchells attorney, David Biggs, said his clients right to a fair trial would be jeopardized if the competency hearing were open. The judge agreed and closed Mr. Mitchells and his wifes hearings.

VERMONT

Mans paint tale wins liars contest

BURLINGTON Bill Meinel thinks his wife is so indecisive about choosing paint colors that his “1,800-square-foot home is now 1,000 square feet due to all the coats of paint.”

No, not really. Mr. Meinel, of Burlington, said that just so he could win the annual World Champion Liar Contest sponsored by the Burlington Liars Club.

Mr. Meinel was the first local to win in club President John Soeths 23 years as president, beating out nearly 300 big fibs.

“Hes so excited,” Mr. Soeth said.

Mr. Meinel received a certificate notifying him of his victory over entries from 21 states and several foreign countries.

“I always tease my wife that if she changes her mind anymore, well need to get another house,” he said.

WYOMING

PETA uses mad cow to push vegetarianism

CHEYENNE Americans should consider vegetarian diets in wake of the mad cow scare, a national animal rights organization said Wednesday.

Two members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, including a woman dressed as a Holstein cow, held an informational picket outside a popular steak restaurant.

Many customers quietly walked past and went inside to order hearty beef dinners. Some were annoyed by the groups presence.

On a sunny, 40-degree day, the duo waved at passing vehicles and handed out “vegetarian starter kits,” pamphlets containing vegetarian and vegan recipes, lists of celebrity vegetarians and reports on feedlot practices.

Asked if he thought PETAs message might not play well in the heart of beef country, Ravi Chand, 24, campaign coordinator for the Norfolk-based group, said the people of Cheyenne have a right to know about alternatives to eating meat.

“The best way to safeguard yourself against mad cow disease is to adopt a vegetarian diet,” he said.

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